Copra is the island’s main and biggest produce, but having the sweetest lanzones makes Camiguin a destination by itself. Celebrated every 3rd week of October, the Lanzones Festival is a fete to give thanks for the abundance of the sacarrine fruit which Camiguin is known for, and for the prosperity the island is blessed with over the years.
In Cebu, my family’s third Sunday is usually spent buying fruits and vegetable in Carbon market, and our grocery bags get atleast 3 kilos heavier when lanzones is in season. We usually get the sweetest variety – Mambajao, which obviously is from Camiguin. But what makes these little pale lychee-looking-but-the-smooth-kind fruit sweeter than the others? Well, it has something to do with its geography. Camiguin, fondly dubbed as the island born of fire, is a small pear-shaped volcanic island in the north west coast of Mindanao. The isle’s soil is so fertile, you can see lush greeneries along the volcanos superficial walls and the mountain ranges midpoint the island, and this volcanic soil also contributes to the lanzones’ sweetness.
Although, legend says that this golden fruit was once poisonous. The tale started when some townsfolk discovered the tree and its round golden fruit. Two locals got sick after taking in some. But a “diwata” or fairy appeared, took away the venom from the fruit, and turned the toxic fruit into an antidote. You can read more about the Legend of Buahan HERE.
The dance routines of the participants of the Lanzones Festival tell the very story from the legend. With colorful costumes featuring the Manobo-higaonon tribe’s tradition and culture in their performances, each presentation is flashy and full of energy.
This year marked the 38th Lanzones Festival. It was a series of festivities spread over a two-day period. The search for Mutya ng Buahanan 2017 opened the sequence, and then followed by the street parade the next day, and climaxed with the Lanzones Festival Grandstand Presentation.
This year, there were eight contingents who vied for the grand prize. Here’re some photos from the recent Grandstand Presentation.
Around the Mystical Island of Camiguin in Two Days
Camiguin’s very laid-back semblance makes the island an ideal destination to relax and unwind anytime of the year. My recent jaunt to the beautiful island of Camiguin was in time for the Lanzones Festival. I have been around the island once before, but this visit got me extra hyped as it’s my first time to see the island’s grandest celebration. Talking about hitting two birds with a stone, I get to re-explore the mystical island and experience Lanzones Festival on one visit.
Before and in-between the festival programs, our group were able to go around the island. Here’s what a packed and time-efficient, 2-day festival itinerary looks like.
Leaving Cagayan de Oro at 7:30AM we arrived at Bahay Bakasyunan at around 12noon, where we were checked in for two-days. After lunch at the resort’s restaurant, we settled in our rooms and had 30 minutes to relax.
Our first day itinerary included a visit to PhiVolcs’ Hibok-hibok Volcano Observatory and Lanzones Picking.
The island has 7 volcanos that are ACTIVE, so a visit to PhiVolcs gave us a little light on how these volcanoes are being monitored and at the same time, learned more about volcanos and their behavior. After a short lecture from the resident volcanologist, we found ourselves eating FRESH from the tree, sweet lanzones at a farm, a few minute-drive from PhiVolcs Camiguin.
Also part of our 1st day itinerary was a visit to Balai sa Baibai where we got introduced to “sea glass.” As we all know, many of our trash end up in the ocean. One of ’em are bottles and glasses. Here at Balai sa Baibai, they found a way to beautifully reuse these pieces of glass and make them to fashionable and wearable pieces of jewelry.
Balai sa Baibai is truly very serene, and very instagrammable. Applied filter on each of the next four pictures I took with my iPhone at Balai sa Baibai just to add a little bit more drama to the already tranquil scenery.
Waiting for the sun to set. We dropped by for a quick look at the Old Church Ruins in Tibane Hill, and headed to the viewing deck of the Sunken Cemetery for the sunset. Unfortunately for us, it was very cloudy. Nonetheless, the view of the Sunken Cemetery was still stunning.
It was already dark and we were all getting hungry. Good thing La Isla Cocina had a feast waiting for our group, including a whole lechon! Yum!
After dinner, we had a 15-minute break back at the hotel before attending the Mutya ng Buahan 2017.
An early morning wake up call, we arrived at around 7AM to have breakfast at this beautiful sandbar called as the White Island. The shape of the sandbar changes every season, which is caused by the wind and tides.
Tuasan Falls is one of three waterfalls in the island and is said to be the most beautiful among the three. Haven’t seen the Katibawasan and Binagawan Falls yet, so I can’t say. 😉
Next stop, Mantigue. The island is just 3.5 kilometers away from the coast of Camiguin and boasts white powdery sand beach and crystal clear waters. Also, the island has a lush greenery in its interior.
After lunch and an hour of swimming, we headed back to the hotel to shower. Then off to the stadium where we watched the contingents perform their routines at the grandstand for the finale of The 38th Lanzones Festival.
Where We Stayed
For two nights, we stayed at Bahay Bakasyunan Camiguin, or BBC. It was pretty close where the festivities are happening, so it’ll just take a short ride to be where the celebration is. And have you seen their pool? <3
Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin is in Mambajao, Camiguin. You may contact them through phone via (088) 387 0278.
Camiguin’s Unique Eats
I bet there are still lots of unique eats in Camiguin. But here’re two must tries during your visit.
1. BBC’s Surol. It’s made with native chicken, in coconut milk with ginger, spring onions, garlic and chili. Delish!
2. Lanzones Ice Cream. Aside from Lanzones, you may also try the Lanzones Ice Cream! Yum!
The short jaunt to Camiguin was surely a fun one. Met new local friends as well who’s pretty much game to climb the ranges of Camiguin with me on my next visit.
It is said that once you get to visit the island, Camiguin’s mystical charm will have you “come again” for more. 😉 Am not sure if it’s true, but I guess I am under its spell now. Been there twice and can’t wait to explore more of its beauty. Until my next visit Camiguin!